Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
Chapter 3: As the Seventh Month Dies
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Athena, as well as my other betas 3CP, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Thanos for their incredible work on this story.
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July 28, 1993
It had been a strange day. Sirius Black’s escape from Azkaban had rocked the nation and Regulus remained shut up in his study.
Harry knew who Sirius Black was but found himself feeling disconnected. He had never grown up fearing his name and could not make himself hate a man for killing a dozen muggles. Maybe I am like Voldemort.
No! he told himself. There’s nothing wrong with hating muggles; you’re no Voldemort, you’ll be better.
The day grew stranger when an owl from Narcissa arrived that afternoon. Harry frowned as he read, something felt off. She wanted to meet with him that night. Why does she sound so worried? It’s like she’s afraid something big will happen before we meet tonight.
He was no less perplexed by the time he stepped through roaring green flames and into the Malfoys’ opulent manor.
Harry’s hand drifted towards his wand when he saw the familiar, filthy pillowcase, but he relaxed when he realized this was not Dobby.
“Master be here to see Mistress Narcissa?”
Harry nodded. “She told me to come and talk to her after I was done with everything for the day.”
“I be taking you to her now.”
They walked through a maze of winding halls that gave way to a large sitting room. Setting sunlight streamed through windows stretching from floor to ceiling, pooling around Narcissa as she paced back and forth. A nervous prick pierced Harry’s confusion. I’ve never seen her look nervous before.
“I be bringing the young master to you, Mistress Narcissa.”
Harry’s nerves hardened when she spun a fraction too fast. She’s jumpy, too. “I see that. Begone; ensure no one interrupts.”
“Is everything all right?” Harry asked once the elf was gone.
“I wish I could tell you that it was.”
She sounds like she expects an explosion, or something. “What’s wrong? Does this have something to do with Sirius Black?”
It was like the fatigue of a long day caught up with her all at once. “Everything.”
Why is she so worried by Black? He’s on the same side as her husband. “What is it? I wouldn’t have expected you to be so worried about him.”
“It’s not him I’m worried about, it’s you.”
Harry hesitated. Me? “How much of what we talked about in the hospital wing did Lord Malfoy tell you?”
“I am aware of the conversation. You know that Lucius faithfully serves the Dark Lord in whatever way he can.”
Harry studied her. “He said that the Dark Lord doesn’t want me to fear him.”
“That’s true as far as I know.”
“Then why would I need to worry about Sirius Black? Everyone says he was the Dark Lord’s lieutenant.”
Narcissa twirled a lock of hair around her finger. “Everyone says plenty about situations they know nothing about.” Her voice lowered.
“What is there to know? Black killed a wizard and a dozen muggles in broad daylight.”
“So did most of the Dark Lord’s followers. My own sister did worse before being sent to Azkaban.”
“Oh, right. She was a Black.”
Narcissa gazed back out the window. “She was.”
“Wasn’t she the one arrested for torturing the Longbottoms?” Harry had researched the Longbottoms after Neville’s murder in his first year. The story had filled his nightmares until Grindelwald took them over.
“Along with her husband, his brother, and Barty Crouch’s son, yes.”
His pulse quickened. She must be using Occlumency. No one looks that calm a few seconds after being so panicked. Merlin, what’s going on? “So what is it about Black that has you so worried if it isn’t what he did?”
“Not to the muggles or to Peter Pettigrew.” She lowered herself onto one of the couches, hands folded in her lap. “I think it’s best if you sit.” Harry sat with bated breath. Whatever made her speak so gently must not be good.
“I’ve told you that your father was part of an infamous group of delinquents whilst at Hogwarts.”
Harry nodded slowly. “I remember.”
“What I haven’t told you was who his friends were.”
Dread coiled in the pit of his stomach. “Black was a Gryffindor, wasn’t he?” Narcissa nodded. “So Black was friends with my father?”
“Him and Peter Pettigrew, along with another boy named Remus Lupin.” She appeared to chew her words. “The reason I didn’t tell you is because Black’s allegiances in the Purity War were more complicated than most would have you believe.”
Harry tilted his head. Complicated? “They seem obvious.”
“Black wasn’t always loyal to the Dark Lord. He was driven from his parents’ house as a teen and spent the next few years living with your father.”
“So he joined Voldemort after school even though he was friends with my father?” There was something else. This was all new but meaningless. What did he care if his father once lived with a madman who may not yet have been mad?
“The first group Sirius joined was a vigilante organization run by Dumbledore. They were more effective in fighting the Dark Lord than the ministry for most of the war.”
“What changed?” It was the only question left, but he dreaded the answer. What could have turned Black away from his best friend and into the open arms of Voldemort?
Narcissa wrung her hands. “No one knows. I’m sure the Dark Lord did before he attacked you, but it’s not as though anyone has been able to ask him.”
“So he just joined him?”
Narcissa’s mask cracked. Here we go… “It wasn’t that simple.”
Harry scowled. Get to the point. “None of this seems to be simple.”
“I know, but it’s going to get worse.”
“Just say it.”
Narcissa closed her eyes. She looked like a porcelain statue as she pondered. “Have you ever heard of the Fidelius Charm?”
Harry opened his mouth to answer no, then remembered something Dumbledore had once told him.
“It was much more complicated than that, but yes. It was first sent to Gringotts while I ensured certain protections were in place at the castle. Other things were considered, too. The Fidelius Charm was taken under strong consideration, but I dismissed it. Nicholas has participated in the charm’s casting as many times as a person can and I confess, I wanted to save my available usages of it for a later date.”
“I’ve heard it mentioned. Something about available usages?”
“It’s a very complicated spell. It involves two people — the caster and the secret keeper. The caster casts the spell and it’s bound to the secret keeper. Anything the spell is cast on will be hidden so completely that it’s impossible to find.”
Harry’s suspicion rose. That seems like it would have been a better protection for the stone. “Why isn’t that used all the time?”
“The available usages factor you mentioned plays a part.”
“I don’t actually know what it means. I just heard someone say it.”
Narcissa toyed with her hair again. “It means that no one can be the caster or the secret keeper more than once.”
Narcissa shrugged. “The theory is beyond me. Very few witches or wizards have ever successfully cast it.”
Harry hated that his first idea was to ask Grindelwald about the spell. He shivered. Stay on-topic, this is more important right now. “What about Black? What does this have to do with him?”
“Have you not guessed?” Harry shook his head. A pained look crossed Narcissa’s face and unease slithered in his stomach. This won’t be good. “Your parents went into hiding under the Fidelius Charm. Your mother was the caster and Sirius was the secret keeper.”
Numb shock washed over him. It all made sense. Why Narcissa had been so worried, why she had wanted to be the one to tell him, and even why there was so little information about Sirius Black as a Death Eater. This meant…
Heat stirred beneath his skin. “So he betrayed my parents?”
Something was building in the pit of his stomach. Something hot and vile that threatened to burn straight through his flesh and spill out across the floor.
“Why?” was his only question.
“The only one who ever knew was the Dark Lord.”
“This was why you wanted to tell me. Because you were afraid if I learned from someone else, I would think… something.”
“I don’t know what you’re thinking now or what you would have thought, but this is a family matter. It should be handled with family, and it should be family who support you.”
Harry ran a trembling hand through his hair. His Occlumency wavered. How he craved for the power to suppress his emotions.
“Is there anything else?”
“Are you all right?” Narcissa asked, moving closer.
No! There’s nothing worse than a traitor! “I just… I need time to think.”
“I think it’s best if you’re not alone.”
“We can talk again, I just… is there anything else? I need to go.”
Narcissa pulled back. Guilt tried forming in his stomach — he should never have yelled at her — but the anger burned it to ash. It was winning, chipping at his defences brick by brick. Soon they would crumble and he would explode; he had to leave.
“Some people think that Black had personal reasons for betraying your father. It would explain why he went after Pettigrew and I’ve heard it said he would have killed you when he got to the house had Dumbledore’s man not beaten him there.”
Dumbledore’s man had been Hagrid. Harry remembered the giant telling him how he had carried him across the sea the night his parents died.
Then it struck him what Narcissa was saying and he almost exploded right there. This was all too much. First Voldemort, then Grindelwald, and now this? It wasn’t fair! None of this was fair! When will everyone leave me alone?
Tears stung the corners of his eyes. Every part of him trembled, rage seeping from every pore. “And now Black might come to try and finish the job, whether the Dark Lord wants him to or not.”
“He will fail. We’re here for you. Me, Lucius, Regulus, Diana, Draco, all of us. No one is going to hurt you — no matter how hard they try.” The tears were no longer silent. It was overwhelming.
He almost leapt from his skin when he felt her touch him. Harry leant back, but Narcissa was faster. She snaked her arms around his back and held him close. He stilled, shivering when cool fingers stroked his hair.
It’s too much. The shaking worsened as weakness crept through him. His body collapsed and he buried his head in her shoulder, wracked by furious tears.
July 30, 1993
It had been a long two days.
Harry had not returned home that night, instead sleeping at Malfoy Manor in the room he had occupied the previous summer.
The dreams had been awful.
Dreams of waking to that face looming over him, smiling the way it had in the Daily Prophet’s photograph before everything vanished in a flash of green light.
Black had consumed his thoughts that next day; angry thoughts that boiled his blood and sent raging shivers up his spine.
Why? he’d thought. I don’t get this mad when thinking about Voldemort. Why does Black bother me so much worse?
Both had played their parts in killing his parents, and both together had doomed him to a decade of hell on Privet Drive. The differences in how he felt about each of them confused him for a time, but it began making sense the longer he pondered.
Voldemort had acted to preserve himself. Harry’s existence had been a threat to his own. I can understand that. What would he have done had he held the power to kill the Heir of Slytherin when his life was so threatened down in the Chamber of Secrets? I can’t blame him for being paranoid.
Black’s crimes felt more personal. He betrayed them; he was their friend and he betrayed them. The thought made him sick. How many times had Harry been betrayed? The Dursleys, Gemma, Draco, Daphne, the list went on and on. Each betrayal cut deep and left scars harsher than the ones carved by his parents’ death. I’ll never forgive a traitor.
Duelling lessons had resumed with Lord Corban Yaxley and he was improving fast. Not fast enough — I need to be ready when he comes for me.
He looked around the library, considering the shadowed shelves with a frown. “It might be the country’s largest collection of books on twisted magic.”
Harry’s head whipped up as violent fancies faded. “Kreacher?”
“There’s a letter, master.”
Harry leapt from his seat when he saw the bright orange envelope. Something so lurid could only have come from one man.
Good day, Harry,
I’m afraid I’ve been quite inundated by letters these past few weeks, so I must apologize for the tardiness of my reply.
I will not claim my youth was savoury, nor even shout of blasphemy from the rooftops. Miss Skeeter’s book is well-researched, just know that some things have been dressed up for public consumption.
Ariana’s death was a tragic accident born at the end of a strife-filled summer. I wish Miss Skeeter would have let the dead rest — there is no honour involving them in politics like this — but there is certainly some truth in what she writes.
Thank you for your concern and I look forward to seeing you back at Hogwarts.
So it’s true — all of it is true. Dumbledore meant to avoid the question, but he had given enough. I can’t blame him. It’s not like he realizes I’ve already seen the start of that summer and can put the rest together.
He closed his eyes but opened them the moment Sirius Black’s face swam before his vision. Damn him! I need a distraction!
A tragic accident, Dumbledore had said? What sort of tragic accident could kill his sister and end a friendship he had once cherished? It was true, then — it had to be; there was nothing else that explained everything so succinctly.
Grindelwald’s pendant felt heavy against his skin, its metal cooler than usual. Or maybe that was just the cold that crept through him any time he considered leaning more on Grindelwald. If there were any doubts the memories were fakes, this disproved them, but giving the once dark lord an inch still unnerved him.
High, cold laughter filled his thoughts. His grip on the letter became vice-like as he closed his eyes. Grindelwald might not have driven me mad, but thinking about Black for long enough will.
“I did not expect you.”
Harry opened his eyes and stared unblinkingly at Grindelwald. “I want another memory.”
Grindelwald studied him. “Another memory?”
“Yes.” He hesitated. “There’s been a book published. It’s about Dumbledore and it talks about what happened that summer.”
“And you wish to know whether what it says is true?” Looking at Grindelwald suddenly became much harder, so Harry stared past him and out over the waters of Lake Königssee far below. “I must arrange flowers for the author if her work is what has piqued your interest.”
Harry scowled. Dumbledore is right; she should have left things alone. “She’s probably drowning in them already. Dumbledore has a lot of enemies and people are talking.”
“I’m sure it means little to them compared to what it means to me. Their squabbles are petty, your interest might change the world. It is precious beyond anything they will ever own.”
The room faded.
August 4, 1899
The Dumbledore Family Home
Albus watched him for any sign of doubt as he so often did, but he would find none. “You truly mean to do everything you say? To unite the Hallows and then the world under a single banner.”
Gellert trembled, excitement coursing through him. “Under the banner of those fit to rule. You have said it yourself. We are ruled by creatures who are made inferior.”
“And you understand how difficult that will be?”
Of course it will be difficult. There would be no need if it was easy. “Of course it will be difficult, but you know my plans.”
Albus gazed out the window. “You can’t believe that old tale.”
Gellert scoffed. “I think we’ve both made it clear that we believe the tale.”
“But to believe possession of all three Hallows makes one—”
“The Master of Death? No, we both understand how foolish that is.”
Why does he play these games? He understands this all himself. “It is not about becoming the Master of Death. Think. Think what we could do with the Death Stick under our command, or with a stone powerful enough to raise armies of the dead.”
“It would take decades if it was possible at all.”
“We’ve been over this before. You know I can’t—”
Albus blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“You cannot leave your sister behind because she is too broken by what those muggles did to her.” It had been days after first seeing Ariana when Albus explained the truth. All it did was make him surer that Albus would join him. He must crave it just as deeply — anything else is impossible.
“You are correct.”
“Then don’t. Take her with you. She will be safer with us.”
Albus laughed without mirth. “Safer whilst we oppose everything those with power believe in?”
Gellert sneered. “I scoff at their power. Political prestige will mean nothing when the systems that value it are torn to the ground. Magical prowess will mean nothing against us. We are better and you know it; the two most gifted sorcerers in the world. One of us will control the Death Stick whilst the other leads an army of the dead. No amount of might will save them then!”
A faraway look crossed Albus’s face. “The cloak.”
Gellert frowned. What? “What of it?”
“The cloak never fit into our plans.”
“Why would it? It grants an ability we already have.”
“An ability my sister lacks.”
Gellert’s chest swelled with glee. “Yes! That’s it! See? You have no reason to turn down fate. We are destined to rule; everything fits so smoothly in place.”
Albus leapt from his chair. “Aberforth! What have I told you about entering uninvited?”
The foolish boy glared. “You want to lecture me, Albus? You talk of neglecting Ariana and you want to lecture me?”
“When did I ever—”
“Who would care for her whilst you two chased fame and glory? What would happen when she had an episode? Would the cloak hide her from her own disease?” Gellert clenched the arms of his chair so tight that his knuckles paled. Fame and glory? Does the boy understand nothing? There would be no need to hide — his sister would have justice! “Admit it, Albus! You can’t answer.”
“There is no question to answer!” Gellert raged. “Think before you speak, boy. Think before you accuse—”
He glanced to his left and saw that Albus was tense and glaring. His stomach writhed. How dare he choose that fool! “Fine. I will leave you to quarrel with this lackwit yourself. Good day, Albus.”
“Gellert! Wait!” Gellert had already left the kitchen and was most of the way to the door. He strode from the house without a backwards glance, pausing only when he saw her sitting cross-legged on the front lawn.
She looked up at him but shrank back from his glare, teary-eyed. How is she so weak? How could such pathetic creatures break her so easily? They tested me and I grew stronger. She’s gone through so much less and is frailer than a child.
July 31, 1993
Grindelwald’s memory had not provided the distraction Harry had hoped for. No longer did he obsess over Black and how he could work towards his destruction, but he was consumed by a new question. Is it more dangerous to want Black dead, or to sympathize with Grindelwald?
Harry walked the lawns of Black Manor the morning of his thirteenth birthday, hoping the fresh air and bright sunrise would lift his mood. It helped some, but he was aided more by Regulus, who was waiting for him in the dining room by the time he came back inside. The Lord Black had hidden away since his brother’s escape from Azkaban, but today he was all smiles. It’s almost like it never happened.
The day and its festivities did a better job still at taking his mind off things. A heaping breakfast greeted Harry and his friends at Malfoy Manor, followed by an afternoon out on the grounds playing Quidditch, chasing each other around the lake, and finally lounging near the water’s edge.
The water had darkened and become split by a line of fading sunlight by the time they were summoned inside for dinner, joined now by the respective parents and their partners.
The feast left Harry full and sluggish, but presents stirred him just moments later. Books and trinkets dominated the haul, but all that changed when he opened the Malfoys’ gift.
“The World Cup?” he asked, his heart fluttering.
“Britain is hosting next summer,” Lucius explained. “These were devilishly hard to get ahold of, but I thought you might enjoy attending. I purchased tickets for us as well,” he gestured to himself, his wife, and his children.
Harry grinned, glancing at Regulus, who looked a fraction too pleased. I bet that talk about professional Quidditch was him gauging my interest for Lucius.
The final gift was from Regulus and it was no chain this year; the box was much too large.
“Open it, then,” said Regulus.
Draco gasped aloud when something red and gold rolled out. A second passed during which Harry wondered whether Regulus had pranked him with a Gryffindor-themed gift, but then he saw it.
“What is this?” he asked, running his fingers along the smooth, polished surface of a racing broom with red-coloured twigs. All he knew was the name, printed on the handle in golden letters.
“State-of-the-art racing broom,” Regulus said with a grin. I’ve never seen him look so happy. “Some of the top World Cup teams will be using these next year. They’re supposed to be miles ahead of any Nimbus and aren’t technically in stock yet. Getting ahold of this one was a nightmare.”
Merlin… “How much did this cost?”
Regulus waved a hand. “I was a seeker. No one is willing to spend more money on a broom than a seeker.”
One awkward hug later, he found himself reacquainted with his friends’ parents. Thank Merlin for that portrait’s lessons. They must have thought I was an idiot last summer.
He finally extricated himself and slipped from the room, making for the nearest balcony. I need some air.
Harry’s hand drifted towards his wand. He might have jumped had he not recognized the voice. “Draco?”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. I’m too stressed for this right now. “What do you mean?”
The blond began fidgeting. “Father… he keeps looking at you. I don’t know, it’s just wrong.”
What is he on about? “Looking at me?”
Draco wrung his hands. “Yes! It’s like… I don’t know. It just… I don’t know. Something’s not right.”
Harry’s heart fluttered. “What’s his expression like? What makes it look wrong?”
“I don’t know! He looks exhausted every time and my mother just left about ten minutes ago. They were whispering together when she stormed out. She didn’t look pleased. Something’s going to happen, but I don’t know what.”
Harry shifted from foot to foot, his hands on his wand. “What could happen? It’s a birthday party.”
“I don’t know, just… Harry. I’m scared.”
“I beg your pardon, masters.” The squeaking voice made Draco jump and draw his wand, but it was only a house elf.
“What?” snapped Draco.
“It be Mistress Narcissa, sirs. She wants to see the young master.” The elf bobbed its head at Harry. It looks nervous, too.
Harry looked from Draco to the elf. Could this be another betrayal? Had Lucius planned this whole thing with his son? I don’t think so. I believe him; he’s never been good at hiding things. Which meant that if Lucius and Narcissa had argued, this summons may be against Lucius’s will. I trust Narcissa more than him. She might be leading me away from whatever trap her husband set.
“Where is she?” Harry asked.
“I be showing master if he follows me, sir.”
Draco grabbed his arm once the elf moved away. “Be careful!”
Harry faked a smile. “Always.”
Harry was led down the familiar path of corridors leading to the same room he had met Narcissa in earlier in the week. His nerves calmed some when they reached the room’s entrance, but his head had begun aching.
“S-she be inside m-m-master.” What is it with the Malfoys’ elves being so nervous about everything?
Black curtains were drawn across the windows Narcissa had paced near the last time Harry was here. There were no torches or candles; the room was so dark that Harry could barely see the sofa. This headache isn’t helping anything. Merlin, it’s getting bad.
“Narcissa?” he asked as the pain swelled. He shook his head but no relief came, nor did it grow worse. Harry closed his eyes against the pain… the pain that came exclusively from his scar. Oh… fuck!
“I’m afraid she won’t be joining us.”
He clasped his hand over his scar as it exploded with pain. Suddenly he could see better and his head loomed higher, watching the boy shrink back. Strange. Does my presence pain him?
Harry forced his mind clear and the pain receded some. He removed a shaking hand and raised his eyes, staring across the room.
A pair of red eyes fractured the darkness, illuminating a chalk-white face that began moving closer…
This is definitely my favourite chapter of Book 3 so far, but I am heavily influenced by how it ended. Next chapter will pick up right where this one left off, so I hope you’re all excited.
Please read and review.
Thank you to my lovely Discord Editor, Idefix, for his corrections/contributions on this chapter.
A heartfelt thank you is extended to my Primordial-level patron, Lily, my eternal love, for her incredibly generous support on that platform. The same thanks is extended to my Deity-level patron, Cup, for her unwavering support.
PS: The next chapter will be posted next Saturday, October 22nd, 2022. OR YOU CAN READ IT AND THE FOLLOWING FOUR CHAPTERS RIGHT NOW BY JOINING MY DISCORD SERVER! THE NEXT TWENTY-SEVEN CHAPTERS CAN BE READ RIGHT NOW BY ANYONE WHO SIGNS UP TO MY P*T*E*N PAGE! That is the entirety of Book 3, plus the first three chapters of Book 4. There will also be chapters posted there tomorrow and on Wednesday. All those links can be found on my profile. If any give you trouble, search my pen name on Google, click on my website, and use the direct links on its homepage.
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